Tour to 15 March 2012.
Runs 1hr 10min No interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 4 March at Trestle Arts Base St Albans.

Old, old story in inventive new telling.
Coffee and sex have long intertwined, making the scent of caffeine an aphrodisiac (while culture’s most famous faked orgasm, where Harry met Sally, has become part of a cinema ad). And when a marked feature of chain coffee-spots is a policy imposed worldwide by management from Seattle (or wherever) to pester customers with inane questions about how their day’s going, it’s rather endearing to find this independent threesome running The Alchemystorium, cheerily inviting the public in to buy a cardboard mug of coffee and possibly a new relationship.

Instant snapshots and puppets record progress as the threesome’s counter action blossoms from a narrow compartment (it seems they sleep under the job) to a three-section coffee-bar.

Once the routines are established in Gomito’s show, it becomes clear that three into a satisfactory relationship does not go, certainly not between these two young female and one male barristas. And when the show takes us behind the counter, the tensions become apparent.

With no words to speak of, and few vocal sounds, action is backed by often quirkily attractive music. Recognisable work sequences and metaphorical sections alternate, as the focus moves between the working-day world, with faces prepared to meet any faces they might meet, and the highs and lows of the closer circle. Love strikes, and puppets connected by red ribbon soar. Later, the ribbon’s cut and the two human characters keep stiffly apart.

Their other partner, clearly marked as outsider by the way the others push past her, moves from the wide-smiling energy they all show at first to desperate disappointment and anger, then to the loneliness of separation – bag packed, snow falling on the cold and lonely traveller – who returns to find the café closed.

Things weren’t the same without her. The spirit had gone, the remaining love vanished. It happens as time passes, things – and even more, people – change. It happens here with energy and inventive precision of mime, clown-like exaggeration and good humour.

They may not offer WiFi at The Alchemystorium, but there’s skill, mystery and a sense of humanity. With sugar. In just over an hour.

cast and credits not available.

2012-03-05 05:08:52

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